Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

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Genre: ,
Director:
Age Restriction:
Studio: MTV Films
Running Time: 88 mins

Verdict: 2 / 5


It is a good thing to go into a film with low expectations, because that way you will not be disappointed and maybe even pleasantly surprised. Although far from brilliant, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was not as bad as I expected it to be. Renner and Arterton, as the famous siblings, are not particularly thrilling when they are on-screen together – mostly as they attempt to prevent their relationship coming off as incestuous – but they have some good moments individually.

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The film carries on beyond the general Hansel and Gretel story that we know. The pair have grown up and their past has induced a will to fight and kill witches – who are delightfully nasty and creatively conceptualised, the film displaying a wide variety in all shapes and sizes, while revelling in fun clichés such as flying on a broom. Between the witches, the inane sheriff and the witch hunters, there are some entertaining action scenes pumped, as these types of films usually are, with a hardcore soundtrack; and in spite of some terribly awkward one-liners, there are a few wickedly funny bits too.

The village setting is fairly nondescript and the inhabitants equally bland and seemingly without origin as they prattle in a host of different accents. The American accents are quite grating; but it is better than listening to poorly executed British accents. Whether or not Renner is capable of pulling off a good accent that is not American is unknown to me, but I was grateful that he didn’t try. Gemma Arterton, funnily enough, is British, yet pulls off a flawless American accent; but the Brits (and Aussies and everyone really) are usually able to pull it off.

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There are elements to the story which some may find silly, but I found to be cleverly quirky such as Hansel becoming a diabetic (makes sense doesn’t it?) and the fanboy who adoringly follows the siblings’ adventures in the “media”. Even though it has a medieval-type setting, these aspects modernise it and make it fun for a young audience (although the violence pushes the age restriction up to 16). It may seem historically inaccurate or unfaithful to the source, but this is not exactly a film which is trying to be profound or precise and Grimms’ tales have been reshaped and re-imagined so many times through the centuries that a new take is not exactly a new or shocking notion.

Despite some nice ideas the script, with its rather insipid plot, is not particularly inspired. Tommy Wirkola’s (director and writer) willingness to create a live-action fairytale in an era saturated with comic book heroes in (predominantly) modern contexts is simultaneously brave and self-indulgent. It is, however, worth noting that the critically slated Buffy the Vampires Slayer, a fantasy film with a few trite moments of its own, was written by Joss Whedon…and look what happened to him, as well as to Buffy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9246msCh7x4′]

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